Family Presence: More of a Presence

exciting newsFamily Presence is becoming an important topic in Alberta’s healthcare system. As such, we have added a Family Presence area to our website. There you will find some new material that is hot off the press! Click here if you are looking for Family Presence tips, conversation starters and more…

Helping Oneself and Others

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In an online post, Sheila, a member of the Pts4Chg community, raises an important topic. How does one obtain assistance for oneself or others when it comes to health care? How does one

tactfully get help for yourself or a loved one, or even possibly someone we don’t know who is in the hospital and we see that he/she is not getting the care that the Dr. prescribed, such as meds being missed or denied, patient not being fed, etc. Sadly, only those who have a loved one who comes to visit, will get these issues fixed, but I have seen (too many times) meals delivered to people without a loved one there to feed them, which were just picked up and taken away when the dietitians came back to collect trays, no one to feed those who are the most sick and alone or help them get the care the Dr. prescribed. In my local hospital, those with visitors get the most care because then there are ‘witnesses’ to what did or did not happen. The ones who are alone are in a dangerously negligent position.

Any comments and suggestions relating to this topic are welcome.

Card games can help in stroke recovery

If you are looking for an activity to do with someone who has recently suffered a stroke, you may wish to get out a deck of playing cards. In a recent study, researchers found that activities such as playing cards or tossing a ball into a garbage were as effective for regaining coordination as playing virtual reality games. According to lead author Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, “We all like technology and have the tendency to think that new technology is better than old-fashioned strategies, but sometimes that’s not the case….In this study, we found that simple recreational activities that can be implemented anywhere may be as effective as technology.”

Click here to read the full article.”

Seeking Your Input on the Nursing Home Legislation

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Alberta Health is seeking your input on Nursing Home Legislation. Discussion topics will focus on care providers, eligibility, social and leisure activities and meal requirements. Click on the above image for more details.

Can hospitals stays lead to delirium?


It is not uncommon for people admitted to a hospital to experience confusion and anxiety. However, in some situations, this develops into delirium. This is especially true for the elderly population. What is delirium? What causes it? What can be done to decrease the likelihood of its occurrence?

In a recent article published in the Globe and Mail, these questions were addressed. If you have not had the opportunity to read, “How a disorienting hospital visit can lead to delirium,” you may wish to do so. Among other things, it will provide some insight into what can happen when someone you know is admitted to the hospital and how your presence can make a difference.

Trapped inside her own body

Imagine being conscious of what is happening around you but not being able to respond in any way. Imagine listening to doctors talk about you and the grave prognosis they held for you, without them realizing that you could hear every word.  You want nothing more than to tell people that you are okay but there is no way to do so because you are not asleep but not awake.  This is the reality Brisa Alfaro found herself in. Click here to read Alfaro’s story.

At 32, Brisa Alfaro experienced a brain-stem stroke, one that leaves patients paralyzed but painfully aware of the world.( National Post)

Continuing Care & Community Living Expo 2016

On Thursday, April 21st, the Continuing Care & Community Living – Expo 2016 was held in Calgary. This event, sponsored by Alberta Health Services and Covenant Heath, focused on introducing individuals and their families to new initiatives, opportunities and technologies relating to independence and aging.

Below are some tweets that @aircalgary sent while attending Expo 2016.

If you were unable to attend the Continuing Care & Community Living – Expo 2016 in Calgary, you have a chance to do so on Friday, May 6th in Edmonton, Alberta. As was the case in Calgary, admission and parking are FREE. To learn more about the event, including the topics that will be addressed, click on the image below.

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What Does, “Like Family” Mean?

familyWhen talking about Family Presence, it is not uncommon for people to mention that the individuals whom they would want to be present with them in a hospital are not legally family members but are instead individuals who are “like family.” However, what does this terminology really mean?

While interviewing individuals for her latest book on friendship, Deborah Tannen frequently encountered the phrase, “like family.” As Tannen explains, “My friends are the sisters I was meant to have,” a woman told me. Another said that her friends are more precious than her sisters because they remember things from her past that her sisters don’t and can’t, since they weren’t there. And a man commented that he didn’t enjoy a particular friend’s company all that much, but it was beside the point: “He’s family.”

Through comments such as these and the descriptions and explanations people provided, Tannen garners an understanding of friendships, relationships and the concepts of family and “like family.”

Click here to read Tannen’s article.

Family Presence Heads to “The Hat”

On Friday, March 18th, @aircalgary, a member of the Patients 4 Change (Pts4Chg) community, set out for Medicine Hat, Alberta. It was there that the next Family Presence chat session was taking place. Below is @aircalgary’s overview of the day.

Friday March 18, 2016

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s cozy meeting room in Medicine Hat was the location of my second Family Presence coffee chat from 1 pm to 3 pm. Organized with the help of Lorna Scott, a local author, caregiver coach and trainer, Lorna brought together members of the Caregiver Coalition of Southeast Alberta for our chat on the Family Presence campaign in advance of April 4th Change Day here in Alberta. I brought the swag, cookies and balloons and Family Presence conversation cards. To learn more about this group that has been connecting caregivers in SE Alberta since 2009 see: https://www.facebook.com/CaregiverCoalitionOfSoutheastAlberta/.
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Webinar – Family Presence

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As noted earlier, there is a Family Presence Campaign underway in Alberta. Part of this campaign sees the promotion of 24/7 visiting hours in Alberta’s care facilities.

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) also has a campaign focusing on family presence. Related to this, there is a webinar on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., MST, entitled, “Better Together: Canadian Case Studies.” This presentation will highlight the Ottawa Hospital, which adopted family presence policies in September 2015. The webinar is free and is apt to have some valuable information.